Services need fund guarantee


Additional resources are needed to combat homelessness in the City of Kwinana, according to a local Salvation Army captain.

Kwinana Salvation Army captain Peter Jones said each week he provided financial aid to about 20 people, as well as food and showers to those sleeping rough.

Capt. Jones believed it was more important than ever the $14.5 million Federal funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness was passed.

“There has been an increase in the number of people coming to us for help, even those who have volunteered here for years have never seen it this busy,” he said.

“People range from being at risk of homeless and those living on the streets.

“The biggest issue is the cost of living — people are asking for help with bills between $500 and $1000 for expenses such as rent and utilities.”

According to the 2011 Census, 1026 people in Perth’s south-west were classified as homeless and figures for Kwinana listed 55 people homeless.

Capt. Jones believed those figures had increased and said it was now particularly bad for families who had forked out money for children’s school needs.

“It makes us feel bad, but we don’t have that sort of funding available and can’t help everybody — we try to help people with meals until their next pay, but we have a lot of unmet needs,” he said.

“We are forced to push them onto other services, which are struggling just as much as us.”

Capt. Jones said the Kwinana office annual budget was $45,000, which only provided basics, but the biggest issue for clients was the lack of short and long-term accommodation in the region.

“It’s about a two-month wait to get State housing, but there is no short-term accommodation in Kwinana or surrounding suburbs — the closest is Perth city,” he said.

“I am constantly calling on behalf of people trying to find them accommodation, but agencies have nothing to offer because they are overcrowded.”

Capt. Jones reported many clients were living in their cars or in vacant buildings, but said he was concerned about their health.

An Australian Department of Social Services spokeswoman said the partnership funded more than 500 organisations, including 12 in Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah.

She accepted the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which expires on June 30, would create significant uncertainty for service providers.

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